First of all, I am not an expert, but I do legally live as an intersex male now and I do have two X chromosomes, a vagina, ovaries, and uterus. So, I have life experience living with a gender variant intersex body and happily doing so. In this blog, I will speak only of my experience of being a man with a vagina and not wanting to lose it to the side effects of testosterone and medical neglect. For the sake of others like me, I will talk about my vagina. However, topics like this are typically very private and to not be talked about as the meme I found on social media suggests above: “…maybe it’s none of your business”.
A picture of me in my “pink pussy” hat, made by a friend, for the Women’s March DC Jan. 2018.
Yes, a man can want his vagina.
Back in December of 2014, when I decided to emancipate my true gender identity male, I was left at a crossroads. To do so I had to sign medical compliance forms warning about the side-effects of injecting testosterone would have on my body and agreeing that the damage was not the responsibility of my hormone prescribing doctor. As you now know, I am 46XX Intersex nonconforming male, and I have a vagina, ovaries, and uterus. Some of those consequences of injecting testosterone were vaginal atrophy, losing my female fertility, and my uterus atrophying. All likely leading to surgery, a complete hysterectomy, and possible vaginectomy, to remove it all.
Due to already having six pregnancies, four miscarriages, and three kids (two biological and one adopted), I was not so much concerned about my fertility and my husband and I were done with that baby making chapter of our lives. I was also told that testosterone would stop my menstrual cycle and would throw me into a testosterone induced “menopause” and I welcomed it! Especially since my menstrual cycle always caused me so many health problems. However, my husband and I did not want me to lose my ability to orgasm or have enjoyable penetrative vaginal sex.
Like now, I wanted to keep my Genital Integrity:
Like I shared, I was told that my uterus and vagina would atrophy due to injecting more testosterone. At the time I was a part of a few facebook groups filled with trans men. Most did not like their bodies, born as endosex females, and shared that they had dysphoria about their bodies. These men, like me, were assigned wrong as female at birth. Many felt that they were born into the wrong body. Some of these men welcomed and celebrated having top surgery to masculinize their chests, and some needed “bottom surgery”. Bottom surgery is when they would undergo a complete hysterectomy and some would have their vagina removed (vaginectomy), testicular implants put in, and then undergo metoidioplasty or phalloplasty.
I believe in self-determination, informed consent for sex reassigning surgeries and surgical choice for all adult consensual people. However, I did not want to lose my vagina, uterus or ovaries nor did I have the same dysphoria about my intersex body that some of these trans men had about their endosex bodies. I would later find out that there are a few trans men, intersex men, queer men, nonbinary men, or nonconforming men, who also wanted to keep their genital integrity and many don’t even need top surgery or bottom surgeries. I was thankfully not alone.
Here lies the problem: Doctors are not informed on how to help us keep our genital integrity and keep our male vagina from atrophying.
I thankfully have a reproductive endocrinologist doctor who helped work with me and the solution was rather simple and did not have drastic effects on my masculine appearance to this world, as my picture of me as a pirate proves well. I always pass a male socially.
By working with me, my reproductive endocrinologist discovered that a low dose vaginal estrogen, inserted into my vagina twice a week is all it takes to keep my genital integrity. I currently am using Yuvafem Tab 10 MCG (Something similar could work as well). This keeps my testosterone levels well in the male ranges and my estrogen levels just a tad higher than a typical endosex males.
My estrogen is low enough to not turn on my female cycle so I remain in “menopause” but high enough that I have been able to keep my genital integrity. Please note that the menopause testosterone induces is not the same as that experienced by females. I have never suffered from any menopausal symptoms. Best of all, I now have a moist healthy vagina that is not atrophying and I can have enjoyable sex. The painful uterus cramping I had started to experience has also stopped. My uterus cramping was no doubt another sign of the effects of testosterone, and a sign of atrophy. As suggested by my doctor I have regular ultrasounds to make sure my uterus is not developing a lining. My last menstrual cycle was March of 2015 and three years later I have no problems or medical complications.
For some of us men who have a vagina, uterus or ovaries, we are ok with keeping all our body parts.
It is our right to not have to suffer from the pain of atrophy and we can inform our doctors on how to help us better.
Sad to say, too many transgender friendly doctors do not know what I just told you and the cost is going to be great and complete hysterectomy and losing one’s vagina possibly having to happen. So if you want what I have achieved you will have to inform your doctor and advocate for yourself. If your doctor is not compliant, please search for one that is willing to work with you. They do exist!
Always remember that Self-Determination of our hormones is a human right. Genital Integrity is our human right as well.
It’s YOUR BODY, YOUR CHOICE!
I will end this blog with this important meme I found on social media:
No Body is Shameful!
Thank you for visiting my blog.